Anderson v. Myers et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION ADOPTING and ACCEPTING the 9 Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation. Signed by Chief Judge Karon O Bowdre on 8/6/2018. (JLC)
2018 Aug-06 PM 01:51
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
LAMAR W. ANDERSON,
WARDEN JONES and ATTORNEY
GENERAL OF THE STATE OF
Case No.: 5:15-cv-01091-KOB-JEO
The magistrate judge filed a report and recommendation on July 2, 2018,
recommending that the court dismiss petitioner’s 28 U.S.C. § 2254 petition for
habeas corpus relief. (Doc. 9).
Petitioner filed objections to the report and
recommendation on July 24, 2018. (Doc. 13).
The petitioner reasserts his claim that his trial counsel was ineffective for
failing to move the court to disqualify Limestone District Attorney Brian Jones.
(Doc. 13 at 1). The petitioner claims that Jones represented him in a criminal
proceeding in 2006 or 2007.
Petitioner states that he and Jones “had
problem[s]” that nearly “turn[ed] into a fight,” but an officer intervened. (Id.).
Petitioner claims that after the argument, Jones “promise[d]” petitioner he would be
sent to prison. (Id.).
Petitioner did not include these specific factual allegations in his Rule 32
petition or in his appeal and the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals determined
that he failed to cite any basis for a conflict of interest concerning Jones or any
specific claim of prejudice. (Doc. 5-3 at 9-23; Doc. 5-4 at 1-14; Doc. 5-6 at 4-5).
Neither did petitioner set forth these factual allegations in the present petition and
only vaguely alleged the basis of such a claim well after filing the petition. (Doc.
8). In his objections, the petitioner makes only a conclusory allegation that his
argument with Jones six years earlier, in an unrelated matter, constituted a conflict
of interest and fails to show how he was prejudiced by it. (Doc. 13 at 1).
The Court of Criminal Appeals’ conclusion that petitioner failed to
sufficiently plead an ineffective assistance of counsel claim on this ground was not
“contrary to” or an “unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law.”
28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). Accordingly, petitioner is not entitled to relief on this claim.
Next, the petitioner argues that semen found on the victim’s vaginal swabs
and panties did not belong to him and shows that someone else murdered the
victim. (Doc. 13 at 1-2). The petitioner claims that his counsel “did not fight this
point.” (Id. at 2).
It appears petitioner restates his claim that trial counsel was ineffective for
failing to discover the State withheld exculpatory DNA evidence that someone else
committed the murder. The Court of Criminal Appeals held that petitioner failed to
plead or provide any indication of prejudice concerning this claim. (Doc. 5-6 at 5).
The court also found that petitioner’s trial counsel submitted an affidavit that he
received all of the DNA evidence in the case. (Id.).
Petitioner attached to his objections an exhibit which states that the victim’s
vaginal swabs and panties were examined and analyzed for the presence of semen
“with positive results.” (Doc. 13 at 3). However, this exhibit does not establish that
someone other than petitioner murdered the victim.
The petitioner has not shown either deficient performance or prejudice
concerning this claim under Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984). So, the
Court of Criminal Appeals’ conclusion that counsel was not deficient on this
ground was not “contrary to” or an “unreasonable application of, clearly established
Federal law” or unreasonable in light of the evidence presented in the state court.
28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). Petitioner’s claim is due to be denied.
The petitioner appears to argue again that his trial attorneys were ineffective
because they failed to move for dismissal of the burglary charge against him. (Doc.
13 at 6-9). However, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals found that the
petitioner was not prejudiced on this ground because he was convicted of murder
rather than capital murder. (Doc. 5-6 at 5). Indeed, the petitioner does not dispute
that on June 19, 2013, his trial counsel in fact moved to dismiss the capital murder
charge because the unoccupied school where the victim was found was not a
building within the meaning of the burglary statute. See Mot. to Dismiss Count
One of the Indictment, Alabama v. Anderson, 44-CC-2012-000368.00 (Limestone
County Circuit Court, June 19, 2013), Doc. 112. 1 So, count one of the indictment
was amended from capital murder to murder removing the burglary element and
petitioner pleaded guilty to the amended charge. (Doc. 5-2 at 13). Based on the
foregoing, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals’ determination was not
“contrary to” or an “unreasonable application of” Strickland or unreasonable in
light of the evidence presented in the state court proceedings. Thus, petitioner is
not entitled to relief on this ground.
Having carefully considered de novo all the materials in the court file,
including the report and recommendation and the petitioner’s objections, the court
ADOPTS the report and ACCEPTS the recommendation. The court finds that the
petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 in the abovestyled cause is due to be denied and dismissed with prejudice.
The court may issue a certificate of appealability “only if the applicant has
Petitioner’s state court criminal records can be found at www.alacourt.com.
made a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right.” 28 U.S.C. §
2253(c)(2). To make such a showing, a “petitioner must demonstrate that
reasonable jurists would find the district court’s assessment of the constitutional
claims debatable or wrong,” Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000), or that
“the issues presented were adequate to deserve encouragement to proceed further.”
Miller-El v. Cockrell, 537 U.S. 322, 336 (2003) (internal quotations omitted). This
court finds petitioner’s claims do not satisfy either standard. Accordingly, because
the petition does not present issues that are debatable among jurists of reason, a
certificate of appealability is also due to be DENIED. See 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c);
Slack, 529 U.S. at 484-85; Rule 11(a), Rules Governing § 2254 Proceedings.
The court will enter a separate Final Order.
DONE and ORDERED this 6th day of August, 2018.
KARON OWEN BOWDRE
CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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